Finding The Right Motivation

Before you can start teaching your puppy or toddler, you need to know what they want. After all, if you don’t know what they want, how can you get them to do what you want?

Pretty much everything we do, we do because there is something in it for us.

We may go to work for the money, volunteer for a charity because we want to help others, or clean the house because we’re afraid that otherwise the maid will judge us.

Everything we do is motivated by SOMETHING – either because we want to gain something, like financial freedom or a piece of cheesecake, or because we’re afraid of losing something, like our house or our self respect.

Once you figure out what motivates other creatures, you can make them do whatever you want in order to get it.

Take dogs. Dogs are pretty easy to understand.

Any dog will likely be motivated by at least three things on the following list:

  • Food
  • Play
  • Affection
  • Attention
  • Exploration

If you can control your dog’s access to food, play, exploration, affection and attention, you have him pegged.

Getting control of those things is pretty easy, too.

You control when and what he eats, when and how he gets to go on walks, and when and how you pat and speak to him.

Dogs learn really fast how to sit for treats, wait at the door for a walk, and roll over for the sake of another throw of the ball.

Really fast.

And your average toddler is smarter than the average dog, so they can learn just that much faster. You just need to know what motivates your baby.

The average toddler will be motivated by at least two or three of the following:

  • Being Held
  • Attention
  • Food
  • Play
  • Exploration
  • Security
  • Independence

You can and should use those above motivations to alter how your baby behaves.

This is not a matter of withholding love unless your tot does a bunch a parlor tricks. It’s about motivating your child to behave in a way that you like so that she can get what she wants. That’s the win-win rule.

I want you to think carefully about your toddler and what really motivates her. Does she value her independence? Insist on constant cuddles? Love to explore? Is she obsessed with puzzles?

This knowledge is your key to controlling your child. Because unless you want to become and angry and fearful task master, controlling what he loves and then showing him how to get it really is the way to go.

Once you have worked out what your child loves, try to figure out how you can set it up so that you both get what you want.


One thought on “Finding The Right Motivation

  1. Pingback: Eliminating Disobedience |

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